In occasion of an accident at the Belgrade Zoo, which has taken place at the beginning of May, the societies Hope for Animals – Riska, Link Plus and Feniks have sent a request to Belgrade mayor, for urgent recall of the director of the Belgrade Zoo.
A video of an attack of a wolf pup on a two-year old girl was shown in various Serbian media. An attack occured because of the irresponsible and irrational behavior on the behalf of the Zoo management, this time finally followed by an adequate reaction of Prosecutor's Office, and the same should be expected from the City of Belgrade.
The societies have warned that the Belgrade Zoo will not be able to fulfill not one of the directives of the European zoo regulations. Thereby, it is irrational to allow further expansion space and enlargement of the animal collection. There should be strict control of the Zoo, and limitation to the number of animals which are forced to live there, otherwise the Belgrade Zoo could face being shut down, like in the recent case of Split Zoo in Croatia.
The Animal Welfare Law states that the owner of the zoo is responsible to provide space and equpment for keeping and reproduction of the captive animals, which suit the needs of every animal species.
At the Belgrade Zoo, the visitors can witness a truly inhumane treatment of wild animals in captivity. Polar bears are kept in deep pits with no shade; temperatures in Belgrade rise up to 35-40’C in summer, and bears feel uneasy and breathe heavily because their habitats get hot. Tigers, hippos, monkeys... All those animals live in inhumane conditions, in space that is too small and that doesn't suit their needs. Wild cats live in fear, birds can't fly. Wolves are nervous. Snakes spend their lives in small terrariums, with no ability to move according to their natural needs. Even several dogs are kept in small cages, which can disturb the visitors aware of needs of dogs, and can send wrong message to others, that it is all right to keep dogs in this way.
The building of zoos in this manner has been abandoned worldwide. From Spain to Singapore, there are many examples of modern, more humane designs – large enclosures that allow animals to live relatively free-range in a natural setup , in the company members of their species or compatible group.
Badly designed zoos are a source of great suffering for wild animals, as they are prone to animal psychosis, characterized by repetitive movements, non-stop senseless movement, and even self-mutilation. Also, reports on injuries of children and other zoo visitors who wanted to take pictures with potentially dangerous animals, are numerous in foreign media. Animals are sensitive creatures, and not exhibition objects. Wild animals should live in their natural habitat, if there is no scientifically valid proof that they are better off in captivity.
Unfortunately, the Belgrade Zoo management went a step further, and caused danger it's irrational attitude towards its' animals, and irresponsible attitude towards it's visitors, which is why a two-year old child got hurt.
Translated by: Katarina Samurović